The ‘Bridgerton Effect’ has led to increased demand for opulent Regency-era ‘Regencycore’ style homes, with increased sales of four-poster beds, patterned wallpaper, plush fabrics and even period homes.
As well as inspiring Georgian interiors, the show (set in the early 19th century) also influences our gardens. When the show’s first season aired in December 2020, searches for “amethyst wisteria” rose 400 percent for garden retailer Primrose.
This feverish bout of wisteria hysteria was probably caused by the blue-purple flowering vines that adorned the Bridgertons’ residence (Ranger’s House, an elegant Georgian villa near Greenwich Park). The wisteria was a fake, of course.
Season two is just as floral and enviable landscaping as the first, with numerous scenes filmed in spectacular gardens (including the Privy Garden of Hampton Court Palace, the location for the grounds of Queen Charlotte’s residence; scenes are also filmed in parkland filmed at Wilton House in Wiltshire with rose gardens and a large Palladian bridge).
According to the National Trust, the 19th century Regency era (towards the end of the Georgian period) was a time when spectacular gardens were laid out around British mansions, with impressive features such as lakes and shrubs. Temples, grottos, follies, and summer houses provided shelter and acted as aiming points for maximum enjoyment of framed vistas.
In the Regency era, the rigorous form of gardening gave way to a more naturalistic style and was influenced by the European Grand Tour (the custom of a traditional tour of Europe by upper-class young males exploring the art, architecture, culture and gardens of countries such as Italy ).
But if you don’t have a lot of space, fear not – it’s still possible to recreate a Bridgerton-worthy garden at home, bar wisteria. Here’s how…
10 ways to create a Bridgerton-inspired garden
“You can instantly evoke Regency elegance by using geometric shapes. Topiary is a great way to do this,” says Thompson & Morgan horticulture expert Annalize Brilli. “Yew is widely used ‘ready topiary’ and is a worthwhile long-term investment. Alternatively, you can grow your own topiary from scratch. Bare-rooted yews cost just a few pounds each and grow surprisingly quickly. “You can also place laurel, privet or holly ‘lollipops’ next to doorways to accent and frame architectural features, and line pathways with neatly trimmed evergreens like lavender or holly.”
Decorate a pergola
“Climbers soften symmetrical lines and add decadence, height and drama to Regency,” says Brilli. “Drop pergolas, walls and trellises with lush flowering vines like wisteria, passionflower, honeysuckle, clematis and climbing roses. Select a set of vines that flower in back-to-back months for a lush display from spring through fall.
Smell the roses
Roses were very popular in Regency era gardens. “Choose modern shrub roses with old-fashioned looks but improved disease resistance and strong-scented varieties, like Rose ‘Belle du Jour’, to induce Regency-style swoons,” suggests Annalize Brilli.
Romantic, dainty flowers were also popular, adds Hayes Garden World expert Angela Slater. “Think of lilacs, cornflowers, hollyhocks, carnations, sweet williams and little daisies. The language of flowers was extremely important as it expressed things that a worshiper could not express directly. Myrtle signified love and marriage, violet fidelity, lily purity and morning glory affection. The gift of a bouquet was of enormous importance.”
Introduce a colorful plant palette
“For the Bridgerton look, lively borders are the order of the day. As well as roses, plant peonies, Williams pears, columbines, hollyhocks, foxgloves and other cottage garden plants for a riot of colour,” says Elizabeth Waddington, garden designer at horticulture.co.uk.
Separate “garden rooms”
“Tall hedges separating different zones and garden spaces became popular in the Regency era. They offered privacy for young couples to pursue their romance — frowned upon indoors and subject to strict rules — away from prying eyes,” says Slater. “The landscaper Humphry Repton was at the forefront of this new garden revival; He rejected lawns and embraced the idea of garden rooms, planting thickets, shrubs and herbaceous borders. This resulted in hidden areas where one meandered through the garden rather than seeing the whole thing in a panoramic view.”
Include a walkway
“Ladies in long dresses go to be seen. A well-defined and wide path of natural stone or gravel contained within a wooden path edging allows you to sweep through your Bridgerton garden in style,” says Waddington. Paths would have been paved with gravel to protect the hems of dresses and dainty satin shoes. “Whether they lead straight to a focal point at the other end of the room or meander to hidden spaces, pathways set the tone.”
Not everyone has the space for a lake, but Regency Core gardens should have water as their focal point, Waddington explains, regardless of scale. “Water creates a romantic soundscape and view. Imagine delicate fountains cascading into a pond full of water lilies and other aquatic plants. Classic statues, bird baths and other artistic elements amid dense flowers and other perennials add to the look.”
Wrought iron garden furniture
“If patio furniture was used in the Regency era, it was ornate wrought iron placed at strategic points in the garden to pause and admire the view,” says Slater.
Decorated stone planters
“We’ve seen many buyers looking for Regency-style stone planters and figurines that can take center stage in a garden of any size,” says Jonathan Nixon of Wembley Park Antiques Market. Regency style planters reflect the ornate architecture of the period and often feature figures from mythology.
“Rhododendrons first came to Britain in the Regency era. Varieties like the purple Rhododendron ponticum and Rhododendron luteum, the yellow azalea, may be ubiquitous and commonplace today – but in the 19th century they were new and exciting,” says Andy Hill, head gardener at Painshill Park, a Bridgerton film location.
“On a smaller scale, gardeners can open up a range of views to enjoy.”
Andy Hill, chief gardener at Painshill Park